Reviews - August 2016

What They Say

“A book is simply the container of an idea—like a bottle; what is inside the book is what matters.”
—Angela Carter


Cynthia Lea Clark, Psy.D., MHt:

Cynthia Lee Clark

Former Miss Chicago (Miss USA), Cynthia Lea Clark continued school, graduating from Northwestern University (multiple degreed), attended nursing school, and became a Firefighter Paramedic. After working as an actress in Chicago, she moved to Los Angeles where she worked on many television shows, such as DAYS OF OUR LIVES and STAT, while continuing her education with a Masters in Psychology and then a Doctorate of Psychology. While working on STAT, she was stalked which led her to work in Forensic Psychopathology. She has over 70 interviews with serial killers, mass murderers, etc. Today she mixes Forensics with writing and acting.  She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, Kiss of Death Chapter of RWA, International Thriller Writers, Sisters in Crime, and the American College of Forensic Examiners International.


Aaron Paul Lazar

Aaron Paul Lazar

Aaron Paul Lazar writes to soothe his soul. A bestselling Kindle author of 22 books, including three addictive mystery series, writing books, and a new love story, Aaron enjoys the Genesee Valley countryside in upstate New York, where his characters embrace life, play with their dogs and grandkids, grow sumptuous gardens, and chase bad guys. Visit his website at and watch for his upcoming release, UNDER THE ICE. Aaron has won over 18 book awards for his novels and finds writing to be his form of "cheap therapy." Feel free to connect with him on Facebook or his website; he loves to connect with readers.


Please welcome our NEW REVIEWER Barry Gill:

Barry Gill

I love a good mystery and always have. While other 9 year olds were playing in the yard I was spending my time plunked down in a plastic backed chair at our local library becoming, at least in my mind, Sherlock Holmes using Baritsu, the system of Japanese wrestling, to throw Moriarty to his death at the bottom of the Reichenbach Falls, or imagining myself to be Monsieur C. Auguste Dupin solving the diabolical double murders in the Rue Morgue.

Compared to the lives of my paperback and kindle hero's mine has been rather dull but very rewarding. Recently retired from a successful sales career I can fondly look back on forty-three years of marriage to a wonderful woman while raising three beautiful daughters. But throughout all of these years some of my most memorable experiences have been when I've had the opportunity to temporarily inhabit the colorful Florida climes of a John D. MacDonald, the working class Boston of Dennis Lehane or the quick witted PI world of Robert Crais.



THE FMAM MOSTLY MYSTERY REVIEW is the place to come to find out what to read next. Want to know what readers are saying (as opposed to critics) about the books you see around you? You’ve come to the right place! And, if you appreciate a critical review we’ll have those, too. Come in, sit down and see what’s write with the world! (Or, right in the world of write!)

New reviews will be posted on FMAM the 1st day of each month. Reviews will be kept on the FMAM website for 12 months.

New reviews this month from:

Dr. Cynthia Clark . Aaron Lazar

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  • The Perfect Game
    Leslie Dana Kirby
    Poisoned Pen Press, 340 pages, March 3, 2015, $14.95
    ISBN: 978-1-4642-0175-2      ISBN: 978-1-4642-0177-6


Life does not always go as we plan. This is true for Emergency Medical Resident, Lauren Rose. She has decided to move to Phoenix for her residency which also brings her close to her sister and her grandmother. Lauren’s sister, Liz is not only glamourous but married to super baseball jock, Jake Wakefield. Before Lauren can really get settled, Liz is found brutally murdered. And worse both Lauren and Jake are suspects!

Lauren is not only the only beneficiary in her sister’s insurance – million dollar policy but she gives into the attraction she has for Jake, thereby fueling the suspicion fires. And Jake has not been the loyal, dutiful husband. He has strayed and who’s to say one of the “affairs” didn’t want Liz dead.

Lauren as the number one suspect is offered a lie detector test. She refuses based on the grounds that such a test has no proof in the scientific community that they are reliable. The police don’t feel as she does and she jumps to the head of the suspect pool.

An arrest and media filled trial ensues. And then another murder…..

Leslie Dana Kirby is a practicing psychologist and that knowledge allows her to provide intricate character traits. There are some “what was she thinking” moments but overall a highly enjoyable read.

On a scale of 1 to 5, I give it a 4.5.

Dr. Cynthia Lea Clark, Psy.D., Ph.D., MHt., Diplomate Homeland Security


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  • A Quick Walk to Murder
    JD Daniels
    Savvy Press, 234 pages, $9.99
    ISBN: 978-1508823070


Jessie Murphy owns a thrift store, is an artist herself and enjoys catching killers. Now another artist whose family lives on the island has been found murdered. Tomas Moore is the son of a crabber and a homemaker but by some standards not high enough on the who’s who chain to be investigated. Will the police care? Will anyone? Jessie cares and begins the investigation. There are so many possibilities – another crabber, a lover, a wanna-be lover, roommate, and then there are the very suspect ones such as the sport fishermen.

As Jessie investigates she is pulled into deceit, greed, and power all entangled in such a way she must not only solve the crime, but save herself.

JD Daniels writes such that she paints a picture you walk into – side by side with Jessie. You can taste the crabs, feel the walk, smell the water. Delicious! A delightful read.

On a scale of 1 to 5, I give it a 4.6.

Dr. Cynthia Lea Clark, Psy.D., Ph.D., MHt., Diplomate Homeland Security


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  • Cooler than Blood
    Robert Lane
    Mason Alley Publishing, 316 pages, $14.95, February 24, 2015.
    ISBN: 9780692223932


Jenny Spencer has a violent encounter on a Florida Beach. She is 18 and now missing. Her aunt, Susan Blake had one dinner with PI Jake Travis but turns to him to find her niece. On a side, Susan and Jake have a strong attraction but Jake was true to Kathleen – a commitment is a commitment. Jake and his partner Garett Demarcus begin their investigation. But their investigation is not as simple as a missing girl. Something bigger is going on and it may involve Jake’s Kathleen.

Jake is challenged in more ways than he thought possible. Would he skirt the law? Would he break the law for the “greater good” (as he sees it)? What does organized crime have to do with any of this? Why are Jenny’s and Kathleen’s lives intertwined?

Jake is faced with many questions.

Robert Lane has created an up and down puzzle, a thrill ride of excitement. Highly enjoyable!

On a scale of 1 to 5, I give it a 4.6.

Dr. Cynthia Lea Clark, Psy.D., Ph.D., MHt., Diplomate Homeland Security


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  • High Country Nocturne
    Jon Talton
    Poisoned Pen Press, 330 pages, $24.95, June 2015
    ISBN: 978-1-4642-0398-5


Diamonds are missing. The main suspect is Mike Peralta, former County Sheriff. Mike is now a PI. Mike has disappeared into the “High Country.” This exit has left his partner, David Mapstone in a quandary. Should he search for Mike? Cooperate with the FBI? Just when he thinks his choices are limited he is offered to return to the police force as a deputy.

David’s wife, Lindsey is a superb white hat hacker. But something seems amiss – what if both David and Lindsey are targets? And why? Did his partner, Mike run away, steal the diamonds, hunting him? What have they gotten themselves into? Who can be trusted? And what is this he hears about an assassin that might be hunting him and Lindsey who kills by making it look suicide?

David maneuvers through a host of hustlers, bad cops, and mobsters to find the truth.

Jon Talton takes on a journey of mistrust, questioned loyalties, and suspicion. We are treated to a host of potential killers that are interesting in their affects. Easy and good read.

On a scale of 1 to 5, I give it a 4.7.

Dr. Cynthia Lea Clark, Psy.D., Ph.D., MHt., Diplomate Homeland Security


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  • Title:  The War of the Roses - The Children
    Author:  Warren Adler
    Publisher: Stonehouse Press
    Genre: Literary fiction
    Kindle eBook: $7.69
    Trade Paperback: $14.55    
    ISBN-13: 978-1590061121
    Author’s website:

The War of the Roses - The Children, by Warren Adler provides an intimate glimpse inside the fragile lives of the surviving children of the original blockbuster book/movie, War of the Roses, an iconic story that resonated across the globe for decades with an international audience.

When the marriage of Barbara and Jonathan Rose disintegrated, it launched a sequence of events leading to their ultimate demise, which left their two children alone. Although this story was told with savvy noir humor which appealed to many, its darker themes also rang true with scores of couples dealing with or about to delve into the complicated of divorce.

In this intriguing sequel, poor little Josh and Evie were raised by loving grandparents, but the effects of exposure to parental violent screaming matches and obsessions over property destruction for spite marked these kids as damaged.

Often the consequences of divorce and parental discord are intangible, lingering and festering for years to come in the children’s hearts and minds, and frequently such past events can ruin the next generation’s marriages. Mr. Adler’s treatment of this very serious situation is handled tastefully, and in spite of the nature of the subject, he manages to inject some delicious humor into this sequel.

As always in a Warren Adler book, the writing goes down like a cool mint frappe, smooth and delectable. Mr. Adler’s dialog is natural and on target, and progressive scenes draw the reader forward in a rush to reach resolution. His characters come alive on the page and reveal human foibles. Infidelity and dishonesty run rampant in this story, and the length to which a headstrong mother goes to protect her son is rather alarming.

After the first few chapters, readers will feel as if they know these characters, not only recognizing common human frailties in them, but relating to and caring about them.

Josh Rose, son of Barbara and Jonathan Rose, is now a married adult with his own two children, Michael and Emily. His human failings are severe, and although on the surface of his marriage it seems all is golden, we discover there is a quagmire hiding beneath. The dichotomy between the verbalized philosophies of their family versus reality is striking.

Evie Rose, surviving daughter of Barbara and Jonathan, has tumbled in and out of relationships and finds her best friend to be mini-epicurean adventures. A talented cook with no acknowledgement of healthy eating, she whips up fattening, luscious meals to both soothe tears and comfort breaking hearts. Evie relates food to joy, to love, to happiness (don’t we all?). And her upbeat attitude, regardless of her flagrant disregard for healthy eating, is contagious. Evie was unquestionably this reviewer’s favorite character.

Tension simmers between Victoria, Josh’s health-nut OCD wife, and the sweet, foodaholic Evie. Josh is torn between them, yet although he is mindful of his wife’s desires regarding the kids and what they eat, he harbors great love for his sister. Fiercely loyal to her, this allegiance drives a wedge between the family. Subterfuge becomes the norm.

In the end, the grandchildren of Barbara and Jonathan Rose are the instigating factors of changes needed and changes to come. Brilliantly planned, they turn life upside down to force healing in their parents’ relationship.

War of the Roses – The Children is highly recommended as a fascinating look at psychology and family with a tongue-in-cheek flavor that will make readers chuckle and smile. Question – will there be a sequel to the sequel? Perhaps Mr. Adler will consider it.

Recommended for adults only by Aaron Paul Lazar,